The Washed Up Old Guy . . .

Well, our wayward toilet showed up this morning, just as I pulled into work. So I had them just set it right into the back of the Jeep. But as I said, it’ll be Thursday before I get a chance to do the install.

That’s because we’re heading up to Conroe to meet up with some RV friends at China Delight, one of our favorite places up there. Really looking forward to it.

For dinner tonight we had the El Pollo Loco meals we picked up Saturday after our great meal at Babin’s with Brandi, Lowell, and Landon. Perfect since it was only a block away.

Then we finished up the last of the fantastic Bread Pudding we got for dessert at Babin’s. Still great even after being reheated.

Babin's Bread Pudding

Our granddaughter Piper is getting settled in to her new job with the Austin Police Department’s 911 division as a Psychological Counselor.

Here’s a Austin Chronicle newspaper article that talks more about it.

Really happy to see Tom Brady and Bucs win the Super Bowl yesterday, 31 to 9. A pretty convincing win. Didn’t watch any of it, but very happy to see the ‘old’ guy win his seventh SB ring.

When the Patriots were 12 and 4 last year with Brady, and the 7 and 9 this year without him,  and Bucs were 7 and 9 last year without Brady, and then 11 and 5 with Brady, and of course the Super Bowl win, kind of shows that Brady’s not the ‘too old, washed up’ player that the Pats thought he was.

Bet they wish they had him back again. It will also be interesting to see how much longer Brady wants to play. He’s got another year on his 2-year $50 million deal with the Bucs, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he hangs up his cleats after that.

He’s certainly showed he’s a franchise player and he’s got nothing left to prove,

We’ll see.


Thought For The Day:


There are three kinds of people:

1. Those who make things happen.
2. Those who watch others make things happen.
3. Those who ask, “What the hell happened?”

:

  


February 8, 2012

Powerball and Water Heaters . . .

First thing this morning while I was waiting for the RV Mobile Lube guy to show up, I crawled under the coach and coated the levelers with silicone spray to keep them lubricated and ready to go for this next year. One more item checked off my “Before We Leave” list.

The lube guy showed up about 9:30 and got right to work. First off he had me start the engine and let the temperature get up to 145 degrees to make the oil drain easier. While he was under there, he replaced the oil filter, both fuel filters, and lubed the chassis and the driveline.

Next up he replaced the coolant filter, topped off the coolant, and then checked the SCA (Supplemental Cooling Additive) in the coolant. Then he pulled the big air filter to check it out. And after looking at it I told him to replace it. It looked like a a bird had built a nest with all the trash inside the filter. It’s hard to see in the photo below, but that’s a pile of dirt/sand underneath it.

Air Flter Birds Nest

Next he serviced the generator by running it for about 10 minutes, and then changing the oil, oil filter, fuel filter, and the air filter.

The transmission was next. He had me start the engine once more, and with the wheels chocked and the air brakes on, put it in Drive. This put a load on the transmission to make it warm up faster, in this case to 165 degrees. Then after shutting the engine down, he replaced the TranSynd fluid and the transmission filter.

The last thing he did underneath the coach was to check the fluid level in the differential. The level was low, and after looking at the fluid color, I had him pump the old fluid out and replace it with new 85w140.

Wrapping things up, he set the tire pressures to my specs, cleaned everything up, and was on his way by about 2:30. A busy guy.

In between helping the lube guy, I had a project of my own – to finish up installing the replacement power window unit in my truck. Between being so busy and all the bad weather we’ve had recently, this is the first chance I’ve had to work on it.

So I went from this

Door Removal 2

to this.

Door Fixed

The installation itself went pretty quickly. Just pull the glass back out, install the motor/track assembly and glass, and then reinstall the door panel.

Which took more time than all the rest put together. If it would fit at one end, it wouldn’t fit at the other. And so on, and so on.

But finally I got it all back together and working. I don’t have to get out of the car at ATM’s any more. Neat!

My next project was flushing the water heater, something that should be done every year.

This is the procedure I’ve always used.

Water Heater 1

Turn off power/gas to water heater. Be careful not to apply power to the unit until it’s full of water. Otherwise you can burn out your unit.

Open faucet and run water until no hot water is left. Leave faucet open.

Turn off water to coach.

Remove the drain plug (the bottom one) and let a few cups of water out.

Replace the drain plug and remove the T&P valve (the top one).

Pour about a cup of vinegar into the top hole.  I use a turkey baster.

Replace the T&P valve and tighten down.

Turn the water back on and check the open faucet. As soon as the water is flowing smoothly, turn it off.

Turn power to water heater back on and wait an hour.

Turn off power to water heater.

2. Open faucet and run water until no hot water is left. Leave faucet open.

Turn off water to coach.

Open bottom drain plug and let water run out.

Use your ‘magic wand’ to flush out all the gunk still inside the water heater.

Water Heater Wand

Don’t know about online, but the water filter vendors at the rallies usually have them. The wand makes it real easy to flush out all the gunk inside. Continue until only clear water is running out.

Replace the drain plug and tighten securely.

Turn on water to coach.

Leave the hot water faucet open until it stops spitting and spurting.

Turn the water heater back.

You’re done!

When I did this after our first year on the road, I couldn’t believe how much stuff I got out of the unit. I don’t think it had ever been flushed in the 8 years before we bought the rig. We had a lot more hot water after that first flush.

About 4:30 Jan and I headed out for dinner at our favorite local burger place, Stomp’s Burger Joint.

Stomps 4

You’re looking at a full pound of Angus Beef there. Makes your mouth water just looking at it.

On the way home we mailed a letter at the Post Office, and then made a stop at Kroger’s for a few things. I got some lottery tickets for tonight’s PowerBall drawing for $250 Million. Unlike a lot of states, Texas makes you pick whether you want Annual Payments or Cash Value when you buy your ticket.

It seems like most people chose the Cash Option, but I always get Annual Payments. As for the reason, check out the stats on tonight’s Powerball.

The $250 million dollar prize taken in 30 annual payments is 8.3 million dollars a year before taxes. The Cash Option is a total of $156 million. That means by taking the money in cash you lose $94 million dollars, or a little over $3 million dollars a year.

I don’t know about you, but I could do a lot with an extra $3 million dollars a year!


Thought for the Day:

It’s possible to be clueless without being blonde.

 

 


February 8, 2013

Landon Sitting . . .

Today started out with another round of “getting ready to roll” chores.

First up was crawling under the rig to spray the levelers with silicone spray. A lot of scrunching around was involved to get all sides of the front and back levelers. I wanted to do this before I retract the levelers and check out my airbag proportioning valve repair in the next day or so.

Next I sprayed silicone on the slide rails that retract and extend the slide, and then also sprayed the retractable step mechanism.

Then I spent the rest of the morning tidying up a couple of the basement storage areas. But that still needs a lot of work.

Jan’s sister Debbie sent over this photo of her newest granddaughter Annisten, along with the proud daddy Jason. A real cutie!

Jason and Annisten

Then about 2:30p Jan and I headed over to Brandi’s so she could Landon-sit for a few days while Brandi and Lowell take a get-away weekend

After dropping Jan off and helping her get settled in with Landon, I headed over to a client’s office for a while to try and figure out why CloudPrint stopped working. Think I’ve fixed it but won’t know for sure until I get home.

On the way back to Brandi’s, I made a Home Depot stop for some wood screws and a couple of sets of drawer slide mounts to replace some broken ones in the kitchen.

Then collecting Jan and Landon, we all ended up at Barcenas Mexican Restaurant right outside the subdivision. Jan and I both had the Ground Beef Taco Salad, and Mr. Landon had his usual corn dog and fries. But, as you can see, he also enjoys the chips and queso as well.

Landon at Barcenas 2

After helping Jan get Landon settled in, I headed back to the rig for the night.

And then it was back to more chores. I did get the living room day/night shade restrung and reassembled, and then tomorrow I’ll mount it back in the valance and rehang it. And that will finish up my blind adventures.

Tomorrow I’m picking up Jan and Landon at 10am for breakfast at The Egg & I, which along with IHOP, is our favorite breakfast place.


Thought for the Day:

If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed. — Mark Twain

 

 


February 8, 2014

Flashdrives and Five Guys . . .

I headed out about 1:30 back up to yesterday’s client. I had left her old computer copying the 17 GB of photos and other data to my 32 GB flashdrive. Because it was so slow, the computer was going to take 7.5 hours to copy everything to the drive, so I left it running overnight and came back today. The copying had stopped on a duplicate file, but it only had about 15 minutes left so I got it restarted and waited it out.

To  show you the difference in the old and new machines, it took only 20 minutes to copy the 17 GB on to the new machine.

After going over the features of her new Windows 8.1 laptop, I headed back down to the rig to pick up Jan. Then it was off to have dinner at Five Guys Burgers and Fries, one of our favorite burger places.

Next up, was a visit to the Wal-Mart right next door. Being Saturday night, they were pretty busy, and of course I picked a checkout line that quickly  ground to a halt. The lady in front of me was paying for $96.22 of groceries with a MasterCard Debit Card that apparently was from her tax refund. But she quickly found out that her card only had $66.11 on it, leaving her $30.11 short. After arguing with the cashier for a few minutes she stormed out without another word, taking her card with her.

Now came the problem. After standing around for a few minutes, the cashier was going to void the transaction so he could check me out and all the people behind me.
But he realized that if he did that, the $66.11 that came off the card would just disappear into the system and essentially be lost. Since he didn’t have the ladies’ card to put it back on, I suggested he try to put it on a Wal-Mart gift card to hold for her in case she came back. But the system wouldn’t let him do that. It wanted the original card.

By this time it had been almost 15 minutes and two managers were now huddled together trying to figure out what to do. I was just about to offer to pay the $30.11 to clear the system so they could check me out, when the lady showed back up, slammed the cash down on the counter, and grabbed her cart and took off. Not sure who she was mad at, but it certainly wasn’t the cashier’s fault.

Tomorrow afternoon we’re going to drive up to Brandi and Lowell’s to spend the night. Brandi left for Miami this morning on a four day business trip, and since Monday is Lowell’s busiest day, we’ll take care of getting Landon to daycare before heading back down this way.


Thought for the Day:

“Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.”— Joseph Stalin

 

 


February 8, 2015

An Hour and 40 Minutes . . .

we’ll never get back.

After coffee and Dunkin’ Donut Munchkins (holes), Jan and I left the rig a little before 10am, heading up to Brandi and Lowell’s in Katy.

Brandi was leaving on a business trip to San Diego early this morning, while Lowell had to take some friends to the airport, and there was not enough room in the car for Landon. So while Lowell et. all headed to the airport, we took Landon over to Katy Mills Mall for the afternoon.

First up was pizza in the Food Court, and Grimaldi’s this was not. Luckily we could buy it by the slice, so we didn’t have to buy a whole pizza. The crust was doughy, and it really had no taste, no seasoning at all.

Next up was Jump Street, an indoor trampoline/bouncy house attraction for the kids. Landon spent about a hour bouncing off the walls and floors, before we headed next door to the movie.

And that’s when it all went terribly wrong. Unfortunately the movie Landon wanted to see was SpongeBob SquarePants. All I can say is it’s an hour and 40 minutes Jan and I will never get back. Landon said he liked it, but he fell asleep, and so did I. Jan said she looked over and we were both asleep, leaning against each other.

Then, after Landon and woke up, Jan fell asleep.

Leaving the movie, I noticed that the theater had a bar off to the side. I told Jan I wish I’d seen that coming in. Alcohol might have helped.

But the 3D was pretty good.

We got home about 6pm, and after recovering from our recent torment, Lowell drove us over to a new place he and Brandi had discovered, Torchy’s Tacos.

Torchy's 1

Torchy's 3

All I can say is that this is the Little V’s of Tacos. Every thing we had was delicious. Landon wanted chips and queso and there was enough for everyone, and we all agreed it was some of the best queso we’d every had.

And their tacos were unique and delicious too. I had a Grilled Jalapeno Sausage Taco and a Green Chile Pork Taco. Both were fantastic.

Torchy's 4

Jan had a Jamaican Jerked Chicken Taco and Chicken Fajita Taco. She said the Chicken Fajita was delicious, but she fell in love with the Jamaican Jerked Chicken Taco.

Torchy's Tacos Jan's

Everything is fresh made, and they even have their own line of fountain drinks in the dispenser that use only pure cane sugar, not fructose. It’s now on our ‘Definitely Go Back Soon’ list.

Tomorrow Lowell leaves out for work at 6am (it’s his busy day) so Jan will get Landon up and dressed, then we’ll all go out for breakfast before dropping Landon off at school between 9 and 10.

After that, we’re not sure yet.

___________________________________________________________________

Thought for the Day: Fun Fact

Cleopatra lived closer to the building of the first Taco Bell than the building of the first Pyramid.

 

 


February 8, 2016

Another Too Early Day . . .

Turns out I had a last minute client get-together down in League City this morning so I was up about 8:30, and Jan and I were out the door about 9am. My appointment wasn’t until noon, but we wanted to have time for lunch at our favorite King Food Chinese Restaurant down in that area.

As I’ve mentioned before, we’ve been eating here since 1978, and we’re on our 4th owner. But lucky for us the menu has never changed.

We both had our usual Chicken with Hot Garlic Sauce with Jalapenos, Extra, Extra, Extra Spicy.

King Food Chick with Hot Garlic_thumb[2]

Very spicy and very, very good. And it’s the reason we eat here just about every time we’re down in this area.

Getting to the client’s about noon, my  first job was to figure out why a laptop would no longer print to either of the two wireless printers it had been connected to. But it turns out it wasn’t connected to anything, not the Internet, not even the router. But it should have been.

The Wi-Fi was on, but it wouldn’t connect to anything. Well, it couldn’t connect to anything else, because for some reason it was trying to connect to a SonicWall VPN Client. Which is not even a Wi-Fi signal, but is really a virtual hardware device, just like the Wi-Fi itself.

And it wouldn’t let go. The Wi-Fi was hung up on the VPN client and wouldn’t stop. After trying a lot of different things, I finally had to go into the Device Manager and just delete the SonicWall VPN client completely. Then after a reboot, everything worked, the Wi-Fi connected to the router and the Internet, and the printers now worked.

Next up was to set up her new ASUS laptop. This was my second time to get an in-depth chance to play with Windows 10. And so far, operationally speaking, I’m pretty impressed. It was easy to set up and use, and a big improvement over 8/8.1

I was also impressed with how easy it was to connect to the two Canon Wireless Printers. When I originally connected them to the Win7 laptop, it took me about 45 minutes of back and forth to get them working. But with Win10, I just selected each one in the Printer Manager, and then a minute or so later I was printing a test page. Easy Peasy.

Once I had everything set up, I plugged a 64GB flashdrive into the old laptop and started copying over about 18GB of Contacts, Favorites, Documents, Pictures, and Videos over to the new laptop. This took about an hour each way, but since I had my Galaxy Tab with me, I kept busy.

The next part was the only place I had a problem. But the problem wasn’t with Win10, but the Office365 that I was trying to download. But after a lot of starts and stops, I finally got it working too.

By the time I was finished up and we headed out, it was a little after 5pm. And since I didn’t want to spend an hour or more extra in Houston going-home traffic, we decided to have dinner in the Clear Lake area before we headed back to Columbus.

It only took us a couple of minutes to decide on Floyd’s Cajun Seafood, another long-time favorite of ours. And like most places we frequent, we have our favorites. And Floyd’s is no exception.

And we both started out with our usual favorites this time too, with Jan’s Crab Bisque and my Seafood Gumbo.

Floyd's Seafood Gumbo_thumb[2]

Just full of shrimp as you can see.

And then we both went with 1/2 and 1/2 Shrimp and Oyster PoBoy’s.

Floyd's PoBoy_thumb[1]

Just looking at the photo makes me hungry all over again.

As I’ve mentioned before, the ‘Floyd’ in Floyd’s Cajun Seafood is Floyd Landry. He and his brothers started the Landry Seafood chain before they sold it to Tilman Fertitta.

There are now six Floyd’s, five in the Houston area and one in Beaumont. We’ve known Floyd for about 20 years, and all he has to do is open his mouth and you know exactly where the ‘Cajun’ in Floyd’s Cajun Seafood comes from.

Now by the time we headed toward Columbus, it was 6:30 and just a straight shot with no traffic. And after a quick stop at Brandi’s, and nearby Kroger’s, we got back to the rig about 9.

Another long day, but with fun and good food.


Thought for the Day:

MORE ACTUAL COMPLAINTS RECEIVED BY “THOMAS COOK VACATIONS” FROM DISSATISFIED CUSTOMERS:

“We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure. Your brochure shows the sand as white but it was more yellow.”

“It’s lazy of the local shopkeepers in Puerto Vallarta to close in the afternoons. I often needed to buy things during ‘siesta’ time — this should be banned”

 

 


February 8, 2017

A Week From Today . . .

We should be parked at the Colorado River Thousand Trails, and we’re really looking forward to seeing all the kids, and our friends.

What with our doctor visits on the 20th and 27th, and a couple of things our son Chris is going to fix on the truck, along with a couple of repairs on the rig, and some general maintenance getting us ready to travel, it’s going to be a busy time.

I’m going to take a break for a couple of days recounting our first year on the road. I’ve found out over the years we have a lot of readers who aren’t RV’ers and I don’t want them to get bored.

Besides I hate ‘theme’ issues. You know, that’s when your favorite magazine does every article relating to the same theme one month. Now that’s great if you happen to like the theme.

But I seem to get ones like “Underwater Water Polo. Everything you need to know about the sport.” Or “Climbing Mt. Everest. Where to Start.”

Or even “Climb inside the new M1 Abrams tank and take it for a spin.” OK, I probably would read that one. But you get what I’m saying.

I like to break it up a bit.

Jan and I have been trying to figure where we want to travel this year. Or at least the first part of this year. Because we have to be back in Houston for a big family reunion the end of June, that means we have about 90 days of travel time starting the 1st of April after the Tucson Escapade.

First off, we want to do our usual Verde Valley and Las Vegas Thousand Trails, then Jan said she wants to the Rapid City/Deadwood area again, where we haven’t been since 2008.

So that gives us this route so far.

2017 Route

Then we’re trying to decide if we want to go west or east.

If we go west then it will be at least as far as the Bend/Sunriver TT in Oregon, and maybe as far as the Long Beach TT.

2017 Bend Route

But Jan’s also thinking about going east after Rapid City, over to the Elkhart area. So that would give us this.

2017 Elhart Route

Strangely enough, with the two completely different routes, there’s only a little over 100 mile difference between the two.

One disadvantage that I see to the east route is that we once again bypass Kansas and Nebraska, the last two states we haven’t RV’ed in. But not a big deal.

I don’t know what it is about gates and sunsets, but we always seem to have to have some good ones.

Barnhart Sunset


Thought for the Day:

On a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.

 

 


February 8, 2018

A Galveston Day . . .

We were out the door about 9:30 heading down I-45 to the Oasis RV Park to meet up with our friend’s Chris and Charles Yust and their beautiful Integra RV.

We were planning to spend the day in Galveston starting with breakfast at the The Sunflower Café, one of our favorite places on the Island.

I mean, where else can you get Oyster’s Benedict, Quail and Eggs,

But Chris is the only one who walked the wild side, getting the Breakfast Quesadilla. With Guacamole, Apple Smoked Bacon, Havarti Cheese, along with 3 eggs and all grilled up between two large flour tortillas, Chris said it was delicious.

Charles, Jan, and I all went plain with the Little Breakfast. Two eggs, Bacon, Ham, or Sausage, Fried Potatoes, and homemade Jalapeno Cheese Bread made a great breakfast.

Sunflower Cafe Little Breakfast

Finishing up, we drove down to the Bolivar Ferry Terminal and got in line. The ferry was just unloading so it was only a few minutes until we were boarded and pulling out.

Bolivar Ferry 3

Along the way we passed the other ferry coming in. On a light day like this they were only running ferry’s, but if they’re really busy they can run as many as five.

Bolivar Ferry 1

And of course there are always birds following along feasting on the krill and small fish stirred up by the ferry’s passing.

Bolivar Ferry 2 Pelican

Over on Bolivar we drove out about 20 miles, checking out RV parks and the homes, most of which had to be rebuilt after Hurricane Ike in 2008. We finally turned around at Rollover Pass and the 200 foot wide canal cut through the narrow isthmus, connecting the Gulf of Mexico, the Intracoastal Waterway, and East Bay on the other side.

I was intrigued to find out that the spot has been called Rollover Pass since the days of Spanish rule in the area. Before the canal was cut through in the ‘50’s, it was just a narrow strip of land separating the Gulf and East Bay, narrow enough for smuggler’s to be able to ‘roll over’ their barrels of whiskey, rum, and other goods from one side to the other, thus avoiding the customs offices at the Galveston port. And this ‘shortcut’ was still in use during Prohibition.

Getting back on the island, we drove a ways down the Seawall until we finally headed back to the Oasis RV Park, getting there about 3pm.

Chris and I then spent the next few hours going over her laptop and straightening out some problems she’s been having. Then about 5:30 we all headed up to Floyd’s Cajun Seafood to have our last dinner together.

Then after a delicious meal of Gumbo, Fried Catfish, and Grilled Catfish, we finally said our goodbyes until later this summer when we plan on visiting them down in Ft. Myers, FL. They leave tomorrow morning on their way back there.

Tomorrow Jan has an 8:30 Pre-Op appointment at the hospital, prepping her for her laser procedure next Wednesday. Another early morning.

Thought I’d post this. It’s one of the last photos from Elon Musk’s Starman cruising in his red Tesla shortly before it blasted off out into the solar system.

Starman2



The Headline of the Day:
COPS: Man Beats Roommate Over Stale CAP’N CRUNCH.


Thought for the Day:

According to the Flat Earth Society’s website, “The Flat Earth Society has members all around the globe.”

Think about that for a minute.

 

 

 

 

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